[extropy-chat] Best To Regard Free Will as Existing

John K Clark jonkc at att.net
Thu Apr 5 17:37:02 UTC 2007

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com

> Surely what we mean by "free to choose"
> does not mean *canned but distinctive*

It means I haven't finished processing my input information yet so I don't
yet know how I'm going to respond to it, so I feel I am "free to choose".
However if your mind worked more quickly than mine then you could
theoretically know exactly what I'm going to do about it, but I haven't
figured it out yet so I'm still free to choose.

 > And quite obviously it doesn't mean "random".

Things happen because of cause an effect or they don't happen because of
cause and effect. Everything! You can be a pair of dice or a Cuckoo clock,
those are the only options. But remember, even a Cuckoo clock does not feel
like Cuckoo clock, it doesn't know when it's going to pop out for all the
world to see until it actually decides to do so. It's exactly the same
principle with people. Well OK..., it is a few hundred thousand million
billion trillion times as complex in humans, but that is a minor matter.

Sometimes even in a purely deterministic world the only way to know what
something will do next is to watch it and see. It would take five minutes or
less to program a computer to find the first even number greater than 4 that
is not the sum of two primes greater than 2, and then stop. When will the
computer decide to stop? Nobody knows, not even the computer knows, all you
can do it watch it and see what it does. In that sense the computer has free
will, and that is the only sense I've found for the term that is not
complete gibberish.

  John K Clark

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